A succulent in a concrete pot

Why your succulents are dying

Succulents are a tricky plant to own. They thrive on neglect but only if the conditions are right. It’s not uncommon for your succulent to change appearance from when you bring it home. Sometimes they’re busting out of their pots and ready to spread their roots, usually they’ll stretch and drop some leaves. The spacing between the nodes grow further apart and your short little plant is growing taller and not in a good way. Here’s a few tips to help your succulents have a healthy and normal life with minimal stretch.


A potted succulent showing early signs of streching.
Photo by Rémi Müller on Unsplash

Light is a key component to any plant, succulents especially. They need tons of bright light. Sitting on a south or west facing window seal would be a prime location. But remember, rotate your plant to make sure it’s getting even light on all sides. You don’t want your plant to start to grow lopsided. Plant lights are a great idea for indoor plants. You’re able to make sure your plant is getting enough hours of daylight each day while maintaining even lighting.


Succulents are tricky when it comes to watering. My trick is to wait until the plant is looking like it needs water when you’re first coming up with your watering schedule. Water will evaporate in each pot differently depending on your humidity and temperature.


Close up shot of a succulent with green leaves and sharp black tips.
Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

Succulents are notorious for over-watering. Their leaves and stems hold onto a lot of water, making them drought tolerant.  Because they’re drought tolerant, their roots don’t like to sit in damp of soil for too long. Succulents are susceptible to root rot, where the plant rots from the inside out. The best way to recover from root rot is to take some cuttings and start over. Just because succulents are drought tolerant doesn’t mean they don’t need any water. There’s a myth that your succulents only need to get watered from a spray bottle. While this is true for propagating plants and keeping them hydrated, mature succulents need more water than that. A spray bottle will only moisten the top of the soil and will most likely evaporate before it gets to the roots. You can mist your succulent daily with a spray bottle, you could encourage mold or rotting on your plant.


When I first get a new houseplant, I wait to water until I see the beginning of a few leaves wrinkling. That’s when start implementing the butt-chugging. First, I’ll place the entire plant into a dish of water that’s about an inch from the top of the plant pot. Next, I’ll let the plant sit in there for about 15 minutes or so. Lastly I’ll set the plant aside to let the excess water drip out. (The easiest and mess-free way I’ve found to do this is in a bathtub with towels nearby.) This is a great way because it allows the plant to soak up the right amount of water it needs. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to pick up your plant and know roughly how much water is in the pot.

Check out my post: How to know when to water houseplants

  Succulents, they are beautiful but certainly a tricky plant to own. The easiest way to learn about succulents and what they like is to start experimenting with them. I always buy a plant with the thought in mind that it might die. I can do what I can to try to save it, but sometimes it’s trial and error. If you kill your first succulent, try again but maybe put it in a different spot or try watering differently. All plants are different and have different requirements.

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Grant 💖

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